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COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 12K New Cases Reported Saturday As Hospitalizations & Positivity Rate Increase

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Maryland recorded 12,945 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday while the statewide positivity rate and hospitalizations increased, according to the latest round of data from the Department of Health.

Hospitalizations rose by 98, bringing the total of Marylanders currently hospitalized with COVID-19 to 3,306. The state reported 49 more people died, raising the death toll to 11,917 since the start of the pandemic.

The positivity rate increased to 29.29% over the past 24 hours, a 0.98% increase.

Saturday's figures come as Maryland is under a state of emergency issued by Gov. Larry Hogan in response to rising hospitalizations, which have forced several hospitals to undertake crisis protocols to keep up with new admissions.

The total of confirmed cases since the pandemic began stands at 813,688.

This week, Hogan attributed the surge in cases to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which he said is "now clearly the dominant variant among our state's lab-confirmed cases."

The governor said genome sequencing by the University of Maryland found that 88% of recent samples tested positive for Omicron, with that figure rising to 91% among samples taken from hospitalized patients.

In recent weeks, the state has ramped up its testing operations in an effort to keep up with public demand. That includes the opening of 20 new testing sites statewide that will be staffed by the Maryland National Guard.

Hospitals statewide have freed up beds and scaled back non-emergency procedures, with some shifting to crisis standards of care, in response to the COVID-19 surge.

Hogan issued an executive order Tuesday empowering the Department of Health to regulate hospital capacity and resources, and authorizing retired, out-of-state and graduate nurses to practice here. A second order aims to beef up EMS response.

Of those hospitalized, 2,730 are adults in acute care and 515 are adults in intensive care, state health department data show. There are 51 children in acute care and 10 more in the ICU.

There are 4,515,588 Marylanders fully vaccinated and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 92.5% of the state's adults have gotten at least one dose.

The state has administered 10,510,161 doses of the vaccine. Of those, 4,513,588 are first doses, 6,427 of them in the past 24 hours. Another 3,959,230 are second doses, 4,235 of them in the last day. The state has administered 1,708,629 booster doses, 20,066 in the past 24 hours.

A total of 328,714 Marylanders have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 171 over the last 24 hours.

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